Dr Shailesh Puntambekar said this about sindhutai ” She had been admitted to the galaxy care hospital in Maharashtra Pune . “She had undergone a hernia surgery one and a half months ago and recovery was slow . Today she died of a heart attack on 8 pm .
Sindhutai Sapkal (14 November 1948 – 4 January 2022) was an Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for her work in raising orphaned children in India. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2021 in Social Work category.
Sapkal was married off at age 12 to Shrihari Sapkal, who was 20 years elder to her, and moved to Nawargaon village, Seloo in Wardha. The marriage did not last long and at the age of 20, she was left on her own to care for a girl child.Sindhutai Sapkal later found herself in Chikhaldara, where she started begging on railway platforms for food.
In the process, she realised that there were many children abandoned by their parents and she adopted them as her own. She then begged more vigorously to feed them. She decided to become a mother to everyone who came across to her as an orphan.
She later donated her biological child to the trust Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune, to eliminate the feeling of partiality between her biological child and the adopted children. Sindhutai started a tiger project , which was very big .
When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi arrived to inaugurate the tiger project, Sapkal showed her photographs of an Adivasi who had lost his eyes to a wild bear. She is quoted as saying, “I told her that the forest department paid compensation if a cow or a hen was killed by a wild animal, so why not a human being? She immediately ordered compensation.”Sapkal devoted herself to orphans.
As a result, she was fondly called “Mai”, which means “mother”. She nurtured over 1,500 orphaned children and through them had a grand family of 382 sons-in-law and 49 daughters-in-law.
She has been honoured with more than 700 awards for her work.She died of a heart attack in Pune, Maharashtra, on 4 January 4, 2022, at the age of 73.
The 2010 Marathi film Mee Sindhutai Sapkal by Anant Mahadevan is a biopic inspired by the true story of Sindhutai Sapkal. The film was selected for world premiere at the 54th London Film Festival.
If in this world there were more people like sindhutai, the world will be a better place.